Hunger. A somewhat abstract rendering of grim facts. In 1981 Bobby Sands, an IRA activist in a British prison, leads a hunger strike against prison conditions. He gives his life for the cause. The director, an English artist named Steve McQueen, treats the story with emphasis on the spirit, rather than the politics. Magnificent. (Reviewed 4/15/09)
Katyn. The eminent Polish director Andrzej Wajda crowns his long career with this anguished memorial to the 20,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia who were murdered by the Soviets in 1941. (Wajda’s father was one of them.) Not only an extraordinary film but a moving memorial. (3/18/09)
Song of the Sparrows. A touching comedy about an Iranian man beset with accidents, including the loss of his job, his beloved daughter’s loss of her hearing aid, and his misadventures in trying to help her. Touching, funny, so warm that it becomes a kind of international story. (5/6/09)
Stanley Kauffmann is The New Republic's film critic.
By Stanley Kauffmann